Vortex Sparc 2 Review : Should you buy this 2 MOA Reflex Sight from Vortex?

Gungoal's Rating

 

Quick summary

Compared to Vortex Sparc AR, the Sparc 2 can be mounted lower. Sparc 2 uses CR2032 to power its red dot while the Sparc AR uses an AAA battery. More bluish tint is pronounced on Sparc 2’s glass compared to the Sparc AR.

With all that said, Vortex has replaced Vortex Sparc 2 line with the new Crossfire red dot. It has better battery life, similar glass, rotary dial brightness design but no NV capability.

Vortex Sparc 2 is an affordable red dot sight under $200 which, even though not a SHTF red dot where you depend your family and your life on, but could serve you well on range guns or hunting guns where stakes aren’t as high and budget is more of a focus.

But is the Sparc 2 the best deal in its class or is there a better red dot? Worry not, I’ll tell you all there is to know about this optics so you can make informed decision whether the Sparc 2 is the right optic for you.

Red dot sights simplicity resize3
Speed and accuracy advantage of red dot sight over iron sights is significant. For red dot sight, you align 2 things : target and red dot. While you align 3 things for iron sights : target, front sight and rear sight.

Due to recent improvements in optics manufacturing technology, firearms optics have become easier and cheaper to produce. Many overseas factories are learning the know-how of making quality optics at reasonable price. It’s very likely that prices for these optics will continue to drop while qualities and capabilities will continue to rise. Such a great time to be gun owners!

Furthermore, optics sold in the US has pretty much the best warranties available. You can see many big brand names offering fully transferable lifetime warranty which even “death won’t do us part”. Very few other industries offer this type of coverage on their products.

PROS and CONS of Vortex Sparc 2

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Bright dot
  • Sits lower than Vortex Sparc AR
  • Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex

Cons

  • Discontinued by Vortex
  • Glass have slight tint
  • Not SHTF durable

Vortex Sparc 2 is replaced with Vortex Crossfire red dot instead

For those of you who wanting to get your hands on Vortex Sparc 2, please note that Vortex has replaced the Sparc 2 with the Crossfire red dot. Even though some vendor still carry the Sparc 2, you are better off with the Crossfire red dot as it is cheaper and gives similar quality.

Vortex Crossfire red dot is relatively new at the moment, but is gaining popularity and has overwhelming positive reviews.

My recommendation? Sparc 2’s replacement, Vortex Crossfire red dot, is a good buy if you want affordable, low mount, 2 MOA red dot with acceptable quality and stellar warranty from Vortex.

Best for : Shooters who want affordable 2 MOA low mount red dot

Dot & Glass 4/5
Ease of Use 4/5
Looks 4/5
Durability 3.8/5
Value 4.8/5

 

The Whole Story on Vortex Sparc 2

Since no optics nor products exists in isolation. And words such as “crisp” and “great” dot don’t really mean much when you have no benchmarks. I’ll be comparing Vortex Sparc 2 with other red dot sights in similar price range, so you know what’s the best option for your money.

Read on to find out why Vortex Sparc 2, even though impressive, isn’t a perfect red dot sight.

Meet the Benchmarks

Vortex has stopped manufacturing Vortex Sparc 2 ($130) at the time of this writing. I’ll be comparing it with :

Vortex Sparc AR Vortex Crossfire red dot
Crossfire with low mount
  1. Vortex Sparc AR – 2 MOA, $200 (at the time of this writing)
  2. Vortex Crossfire red dot – 2 MOA, $150 (at the time of this writing)

These are 2 popular options in the market with similar price point and should give you a realistic feel of how good Vortex Sparc 2 really is.

Sparc 2 Glass and Dot Crispness : Worse than Sparc AR, on par with Crossfire red dot

Top of red dot
For better precision, you can zero with the top of your red dot instead of the center.

Before getting to the comparison part, let’s familiarize ourselves with Vortex Sparc 2 first. The Sparc 2 has 22mm objective lens. The 2 MOA dot has 10 brightness settings, 2 of which are night vision compatible.

Next, to determine Vortex Sparc 2’s performance, I lined it up alongside the Sparc AR and the Crossfire red dot.

Comparing head to head, I found that the Sparc 2’s glass performs slightly worse compared to the Sparc AR, as its glass has darker blue tint, which tends to darken your view. The Sparc AR glass color is more natural.

On the other hand, the Sparc 2 and the Crossfire have similar performance.

All 3 optics have bright dots which can be used outdoors on sunny days. Both the Sparc 2 and Sparc AR have 10 brightness settings with the lowest 2 being night vision compatible. The Crossfire, instead, has 11 brightness settings but no night vision compatibility.

Battery life on par with Sparc AR, much shorter than Crossfire red dot

First of all, I need to say that the Sparc 2 isn’t an ideal red dot for Home Defense situation as it lacks the required reliability and durability. If you have enough money, you should always go for Aimpoint, EOTech or Trijicon brands. The Aimpoint PRO is a “rather affordable” red dot for serious Home Defense optics.

With that out of the way, we can say that super reliable batteries, “always on” function or motion-activated feature aren’t as important for a range gun or a hunting gun.

But we still want low battery consumption, easy to acquire batteries and easy to operate optics right?

Summary of Batteries for each Mentioned Optics

Vortex Sparc 2 Vortex Sparc AR Vortex Crossfire red dot
Battery type CR2032 AAA CR2032
Battery Life 5,000 hours (Minimum brightness) 5,000 hours (Minimum brightness) 7,000 hours (Medium brightness)
Auto-Off Feature Automatic shut off after 12 hours Automatic shut off after 12 hours
300px-Sea_ice_terrain
Cold weather shortens battery life. Prepare accordingly.

The Sparc AR is powered by an AAA battery which is easier to find and is one of the big selling point of Vortex Sparc AR.

Crossfire’s battery life is a significant improvement over the old version and compensated for its lack of auto-off feature. The Crossfire battery life even beats the Sparc AR by a wide margin.

Auto Off feature is nice to have, as forgetting to turn off the red dot won’t drain your battery empty.

Brightness controls : Rear-Left Push buttons

The Sparc 2 has push “Up” and “Down” buttons located on it rear-left side which is easier to operate with your left hand.

Sparc AR instead features ambidextrous push “Up” and “Down” buttons which are located on the rear and are easy to operate with both hands.

The Crossfire red dot has a rotary dial design on its right sideof the optic and is easier to operate with your right hand.

Marines and sailors conduct shooting drills resize
To aim with a red dot sight, focus your eyes on target. Place your dot on target (without shifting your eye focus from target). Pull the trigger.

Sparc 2 has adjustable mounts and sits significantly lower than the Sparc AR

One big selling point of the Sparc 2 is its ability to mount lower than the Sparc AR, since the Sparc AR is designed specifically for AR platform which needs higher mount. (You cannot fix this issue of the Sparc AR by changing mounts due to its battery compartment design.)

With the Sparc 2, you get a low mount (18mm) and a high mount (37mm) of which you can add a 3mm spacer for further adjustments.

For the Crossfire you have a low mount and a 1/3 co-witness mount included with your purchase.

Parallax error is minimal

red Notice sign
No optic is truly parallax free. Industry standard for “parallax free” is in the 30 yards to infinity range.

Reflex sights are known for their ability to mitigate parallax errors, making it ideal for shots with of angle or very fast draw and target acquisition.

The Sparc 2’s parallax error is larger than high quality models such as the Aimpoint Pro. But for the price, it’s a fine optic where you can fire relatively accurate without a perfect cheek weld.

But if you’re serious about parallax error, a holographic sight will do you good as it uses different underlying technology than reflex sights and give less parallax error.

Sparc 2 is heavier than Crossfire red dot

New Crossfire design is even lighter and more compact than the previous Sparc 2.

Sparc 2 Sparc AR Crossfire
Weight (oz) 5.9 7.5 5.2
Length (Inch) 3.1 2.9 2.5
Objective lens (mm) 22 22 21

Moderate durability, Superb warranty

Vortex Sparc 2 is durable enough for non home-defense or occupational applications. Again, if you’re into serious use, consider getting a higher end red dot.

I personally have a great run with Vortex Sparc 2 and have no durability issues with the red dot. Furthermore, Vortex Lifetime warranty and Customer Service have great reputation and you can rely on them if any issue arises.
 

My Verdict of Vortex Sparc 2

Compared to Vortex Sparc AR, the Sparc 2 can be mounted lower. Sparc 2 uses CR2032 to power its red dot while the Sparc AR uses an AAA battery. More bluish tint is pronounced on Sparc 2’s glass compared to the Sparc AR.

With all that said, Vortex has replaced Vortex Sparc 2 line with the new Crossfire red dot. It had better battery life with similar glass while being cheaper.

Gungoal's Rating
Pros Cons
✓ Affordable ✗ Discontinued by Vortex
✓ Bright dot ✗ Glass have slight tint
✓ Sits lower than Vortex Sparc AR ✗ Not SHTF durable
✓ Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex

 

Alternative options

1. Vortex Crossfire Red dot

Crossfire with low mount
  • Better battery life
  • Lighter and more compact
  • Rotary dial brightness control design
  • Longer battery life
  • Not night vision compatible
  • Vortex Lifetime Warranty

 

2. Vortex Sparc AR

  • AAA battery
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Less bluish tint
  • More streamlined design
  • Height meant for AR platform and could not be mounted very low
  • Vortex Lifetime Warranty
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